Sally J. Pimentel Deaf & Hard of Hearing Center (DHHC) received a $5,000 grant from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation for “Sign the City,” a program to provide lunch and learn opportunities to businesses throughout the community.

As part of the Community Foundation’s Community Impact Grants, DHHC received funding to bring lunch for 15 to 20 people and teach employees how to sign the alphabet, common introductions and specific words related to business to help with communication with any deaf clients. In addition to lunch, an American Sign Language instructor and all materials are provided.

“We are excited to get this grant and launch this program that will raise awareness and help the deaf community,” said Alicia Miller, executive director of the center. “There are about 36 million hard of hearing and deaf people in the United States. By learning even a little sign language, you can communicate with 17% more of the population than you did before.”

Any business interested in scheduling a lunch and learn can call 239-461-0334 voice phone, 239-247-5821 video phone.

About Sally J. Pimentel Deaf & Hard of Hearing Center

Founded in 1983 as The Deaf Service Center, the Sally J. Pimentel Deaf & Hard of Hearing Center is the only organization of its kind in Southwest Florida specifically working to improve the quality of life for the deaf and hard of hearing citizens and their families through education, advocacy and community involvement. A wide range of services are offered to deaf and hard of hearing children and adults of Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Hendry, Glades and DeSoto counties, including interpreting services, free telephone equipment loans, deaf mentor program, American sign language classes, information and referral services, employment assistance, family education, community outreach and education, and adaptive equipment sales. For information, call 239-461-0334 voice phone, 239-247-5821 video phone, or visit www.dhhc.life.

About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $6.8 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of more than $126 million, it has provided $78.2 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are now located in the historic ACL Train Depot at Collaboratory in downtown Fort Myers, with a satellite office located in LaBelle (Hendry County). For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com.